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Student Center Cleared as Electric Motor Smokes

By Brian Rosenberg
Editor in Chief

Students and others were evacuated from the Student Center for approximately 45 minutes Wednesday night when an electric motor began smoking and emitting sparks.

The motor, located in a ventilation unit in the fourth floor office of Alpha Phi Omega, probably overheated from a short circuit, according to Michael E. Kuhn, deputy chief of the Cambridge Fire Department.

Kuhn said there was nothing unusual about the event. "Wiring is the third most common cause of fires in the home," he said. "This is a common problem, something that happens during normal wear. You're not going to stop this from happening again," he added.

"The motor started smoking and sparking, but I didn't see any flames," said Calvin K. Clark '89, an APO alumnus who was alone in the office at the time. "I pulled the fire alarm as soon as I saw it getting bad," he said. "People had been saying there was a little smoke [coming from the ventilation unit] for a few days," he added.

Several student activities were interrupted by the alarm. "We were Israeli folk dancing, and the alarm fit right in with the music, so it took us a while to figure out that it was going off," said Ari Trachtenberg '94.